Skip to main content

tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  December 25, 2014 1:45pm-3:01pm EST

1:45 pm
under one condition. i am a strong advocate of cia covert action under a clear set of actions. >> what are those conditions? >> well, if we're looking at the world today, you know, you have to have something where there's a national consensus in the united states. i know it doesn't seem like we are going to have it, but bipartisan support, which is really much of our foreign policy during the cold war. republicans and democrats have to get their act together under foreign problems. you need to have a group in the field that are prepared to fight and you have to support them amply with funding and cia trainers. and these are issues we are looking at today. >> are you going to do it with a structured u.s. form of military programs or should we be in the
1:46 pm
covert? >> what missouri gas best assignment, proudest assignment, you pick a word. >> i think the one where i felt like personally it had more of an impact. i don't mean i did it. part of we. i think my first assignment was such an explosion of information about how foreign world operate in a highly unstable environment i finished up in a place that i'm not allowed to talk about. but i was working as a very senior foreign government and it was a great way to end my career. that i would say the most exciting was the afghan program. the most challenging was in
1:47 pm
washington when i was responsible. that is what was to intend, to say that i spent a day out and i loved it. >> dmsa? >> i believe anybody to say they says they don't miss it probably didn't belong in it. not knowing when you put your life back together do you realize. i think my dna made me very suitable for the cia. i think their dna makes them suitable and by serendipitous circumstances it's a perfect match. i miss it. i'm in the private sector today. the collective information which is the core piece. collecting information. i was telling a man tonight we
1:48 pm
put the description that when you're walking the cia, the wall on the website says you shall know the truth to set you free. just give us the fact. i think that is the core mission of the cia. >> up next, clarence page talks about his columns on race, politics and social change that is written over the past 30 years. this event was hosted by the health center at the old naval capital in washington d.c. it is an hour and 15 minutes.
1:49 pm
reflections on race, politics and social change. as the law now, i'm in 1989 pulitzer prize winner for commentary and a columnist reporter and a member of the editorial board of the "chicago tribune" in 1984. he has won just about every honor that can be imagined. the words of the national association of turn on us, the national society of newspaper columnists in the chicago journalism has spoken little oak and enough to question. he cares this is being taped, we've asked that folks come to the microphone to ask the question and following that, books are available-for-sale i think in the gallery. so anyway, welcome and i will turn it over to clarence page.
1:50 pm
[applause] >> thank you. okay, great, great. thank you for that wonderful, lovely and very generous introduction. thank you all for coming out this lovely washington evening, which i felt i had to build an ark to get here and it worked out. many people ask me how did you get started in this business of journalism? the answer is rather simple. i was 16 years old and i didn't have much of a social life at my high school. and so i thought writing for the student newspaper which is mannix is to put together two things that i really enjoy doing, which is writing and talking. also, i found it opened up a lot of new worlds to me by getting to know people. my friend code yonan d. at w.
1:51 pm
amu, maybe i dropped the name of the local celebrity in there. co. joe was asked by some students how to -- what one does to become a journalist. his answer was the home audience. the radio was asked by some students, how to become a journalist? the best answer i have for you is two things. learn to write and have an undying curiosity about people. i have found that really describes basically what it takes in this business when one becomes an opinionated like myself, which was my early dream coming from that period of western civilization known as the typewriter era. i wanted to be one who could write my opinion as well as being able to report. in that sense it only took me 20
1:52 pm
years of success. in that amount of time i was exposed to a lot of different world and it was something that i would never trade for anything else. he was 50 years ago in high school and several things happened that really piqued my curiosity about the world. one was dr. king sharing washington, his famous i have a dream speech on the washington mall during the summer of 63 only a few months after my police dog and fire hose can effect on people in birmingham to get the right to vote. a month or so later, for little girls killed in a church bombing in birmingham, which they were putting on their choir robe and were killed in that process. i have relatives there and they
1:53 pm
say that white, black, everybody kind of overnight said you don't want a church. there is a certain limit to which even the terrorism of that era would go. it will change. in november, john f. kennedy was assassinated. i don't need to tell anybody how much of a real change that brought about in folks attitudes. it happened the same fall that tv network news for the first time expanded in the evening from 15 minutes to a whole half an hour. it is mind boggling. the whole half hour of news. can you imagine not? before that, news for 15 minutes followed by tv program called sports. in both cases, the news anchor would have his -- it was always a he, have a little sign in front of him with the sponsor, usually some other brand like
1:54 pm
that. but that november, that was the first spring -- first fall for the networks were prepared to have a half-hour of news every night. they had more electronic bureaus than ever before. it capabilities every 24 hours for that weekend. so we not only saw the coverage in the wake of john f. kennedy's assassination, but also that someday i might tv. lee harvey oswald's assassination at the headquarters. and about two months later, earth shattering for those us at the hospital, i grew up in middletown, ohio, which you may not all know the place, but it is also known as the district or john boehner, speaker of the house. one thing john and i have in common, we are both boomers.
1:55 pm
in any case, that january a real earthshaking event happening. the beatles appeared on the ads sullivan show. this is an era when we only had three tv networks, which is why my generation is so good at you. because we can only sing the first verse of the second verse of the funds to the song. we know not only was he in wiki, but their next-door neighbors pride in next-door neighbors are at an next-door neighbors pride in that poll. the common culture was strong in those days because there were so few medium. the information was direct to end those who went to work has to learn how to be generalists, to write and report in a way that can reach people from all different backgrounds and pulled them together into a mainstream to which we could sell our advertisers. we are much more of a fragmented society now, on the whole, it is
1:56 pm
good. it is providing the news consumers have more choices. almost puts more to make choices in a big veteran foreign and that puts a challenge on those of us who work in the media to do the dreaded phrase, do more with less. those of you watch the wired know how dire that special can be. but it is something that we live with these days. we see the impact in the middle east now with more freelance journalists and staff journalists like the old-fashioned media used to do it. those of us who work in the media right through the kind of change that we are covering. i am happy to say there are so many bright young people to want to be journalists.
1:57 pm
a sword users are constantly talking about i should've been with those types of machines. we post stories on a real spike there. sure osha didn't like it, but we still use it. we all deal with change. i'm excited by what is happening. i am very excited about how much the business has changed since i came along. the woman who enticed me for working in the student newspaper, mrs. mary kendall, she just passed 100 here in september. i called her up and happily wish her happy birthday. i just said don't forget to say and many more. yes, absolutely. we had a lovely chat. i always wonder how she was the one back in the 11th grade you said anyone of you who don't like my work, you can blame her.
1:58 pm
back when i got the pulitzer back in 89, it was a real heartwarming event for me that occurred. i call by the hometown newspapers relative to ask various questions. i wouldn't grab my high school yearbook to refresh in my memory because i like many people try to wipe high school out of my memory bank. for the 30th anniversary class reunion all was forgiven because by then we had high school students of our own. but i found the student newspaper page and i found mrs. kendall's picture and she had autographed my yearbook. she said remember me when you win your first pulitzer. don't forget. there was stunning. i went to the phone, tracks her down. mrs. kendall, clarence page. hi, clarence, how are you?
1:59 pm
like i just saw her last week. i said mrs. kendall, do you know what you wrote and my yearbook she said no, i don't recall. he said let me know when you win your first pulitzer. they always made you could do it. mrs. kendall, i'll be honest with you, when you said that years ago, you've got a future in journalism. that is true, clarence, that you're the only one who took me up on it. i passed a story onto young people that when your teachers give you advice, maybe they are worth listening to once in a while. i woke up early this year and it occurred to me that i started writing my column 30 years ago. they said holy cow, that time went by fast. my second thought was i should get a book together of my columns. might her thought was if charles
2:00 pm
claudia merkin do it, so can i. he has his anniversary. i went into the arduous task of combing grew. this is something every columnist i've talked to toasting the same thing. once he writes that column, we worry about the next. going back and looking at them again can be a rather sobering experience. ..
2:01 pm
i went from ronald reagan to palm obama. how about that for change? our job as columnists, as pundits, as opinion writers, as michael my spiritual mentor back in chicago. every chicago journalist of my era michael was the man. somebody asked him, what do you do as a columnist? he said, well, my job is really to explain things. and that is a pretty big job. i find more and more media that we have the more information people have every day, every night, 24/7, the more people look to somebody else with an opinion they can bounce their own opinion off of. i feel as the great ben
2:02 pm
benedictian author of the great media monopoly and gets edited every year as the size of the monopoly thinks as few and fewer more owners, the media don't tell you what to think, but they tell you what to think about. that is basically true. there is agenda-setting role, do it yourself media, where everybody. i used to work in tv full time, not just as a talking head but now the whole tv studio right on my iphone. i don't need to tell you what a change that has made in the world. but who comes along to stir your minds about the potential as far as issues like privacy or press freedom, et cetera, now that everybody is a potential journalist or active journalist? so there is a role for the columnist, for the commentator, and even in the age of blogs
2:03 pm
where everybody thinks they can be an opinion writer and everybody can but do you want to keep doing it? i say that because our son back at the birth of the blogging era in his teenage years, back around 2004 said, i'm going to do a blog. i said, oh, that's my boy, you know. it was a good-looking blog too. then a couple days later he had to do another blog. what? yeah you got to keep doing it. really? he got through two anyway, then decided he was going to be a rock star. that is okay. that is how i became a journalist. everybody else wanted to do something else. from my generation, it was the sputnik era. much everybody wanted to be an engineer. i, who was not, if i finished engineering school my bridges would have fallen down. just as well as i had journalism to return to.
2:04 pm
i feel journalism saved not only my life but other people's lives as well. in any case, what teams do i find emerging over last 30 years, one theme surprised me, life is pull of -- full of surprise, that's why we call it news, one theme i call diversity anxiety. when i came into the business we lived in the country where the social scene was pretty much black and white. no pun intended because that's a fact. there was, it was an era in which issues like civil rights and various others were interpreted pretty much as black and white. today we morphed into new era of multiracial, multicultural diversity and a new divide. those who navigate comfortably across racial and cultural borders and those who don't. and that what gets me to why i decided to call my book, culture
2:05 pm
worrier. show book. "culture worrier." no that is not a typo. it. it will make people look twice. i'm told it does. it is not culture warrior but culture worrier. this relates back to the diversity anxiety theme. i was taping the mcglothlin group, which is always a fun thing to do. i was talking with pat buchanan man about my book. how come you call it culture worrier? >> yeah, pat, in short i'm worried about the culture war you want to fight. some may remember the republican convention of 1992, pat buchanan gave his stirring we are in a culture and religious war speech which horrified the george h.w. bush supporters who could
2:06 pm
see moderate voters votes flying out the window even as he spoke. this was the era of the culture warriors and i find that some people are uncomfortable with diversity. there are others who are remarkably comfortable wit and i think i think this is the way the country is moving but at the same time need some explaining, they need some dialogue. this is why we have a amount of anxiety. i find one column after another dealing with this issue. theme number two, the biggest divide i have found is what i call obama world versus palin nation, for a lack of better labels. think you get the idea though. coming from middletown, ohio, and we say ohio, i know right in the heart, john boehner's district, home of the late buzz
2:07 pm
lukens, late former congressman, anybody who remembers him. it was a good republican county i grew up. my family was a good republican. i'm so old i remember when there were black republicans. young people go, what? indeed, party of lincoln, party of eisenhower. we loved ike. we loved ike so much, i loved ike so much, 11 years old on the tube there are blacks trying to get into central high school in arkansas and national guard keeping them out. next day we turn on the tube, arkansas national guard is gone. there was the 182nd airborne or. they were airborne anyway. this is important. there they were escorting students into the high school. and i turned to my parents and said, what happened? my dad says, president eisenhower. now, i, my young self, thought
2:08 pm
president eisenhower was the title of the job but i was really impressed. i said to my folks, when this president eisenhower dies who becomes the next president eisenhower? that is what eisenhower meant to a lot of families. then in 1964 i was all barry goldwater. i was 16 years old in high school. barry goldwater was against the draft. favored legalizing marijuana and prostitution. what more could a 16-year-old boy ask for. then he voted against the civil rights act. what is that other party called? that was our pivotal change for a lot of people. but i've been on both sides of the fence. and i still find a lot republicans have to offer that is very positive. unfortunately gets buried by a lot of other republicans but that is the past my job again, to siphon truth, to look through that political landscape and
2:09 pm
begin to help it make sense to everybody else. so that is why the polarized 1990s of bill clinton and newt gingrich became more divided over the last 20 years. and i have seen now our politics become more triballized, besides the fragmented media, we also now have something called computerized redistricting. also called the big sword, a number of other titles because now, when you buy your house, you buy your political affiliation. i mean because computers now can figure out all of your inclinations and your neighbors and your coworkers, et cetera. it becomes almost like a computer game figuring out what the voting results are going to be. fortunately the voters, god love you, have a 10 den did i to surprise people once in a while. you have eric cantor, down in virginia. they shaped his district would
2:10 pm
even further guaranty his re-election by bringing more republicans in. only found out too late that the more republicans they brought in happened to be more farther to the right than eric cantor and voted for his opponent. eric cantor on election day was sipping coffee at starbucks here in d.c. this is something that happened over democrats as well i need not tell you. so this is why i love it when voters surprise us. for all of our computers around high-priced pundits, et cetera, et cetera, the voters still have the last word. and so when i see a surprise like that then i know, yes, we are not cuba. we are not iraq under saddam hussein. we are indeed responsive to voters. i told the folks in ferguson, missouri that. but i digress but i do a lot. you start talking with people
2:11 pm
who are pundits which one thought always leads to another thought which leads to a column eventually. in any case i got an example of this new divide today in fact as my readers give me a great example. i just did a column about the recent polling that showed the, that showed a, well, the amount of but the racial divide in america had not improved since barack obama's election according to some polls, had actually gotten worse. and frankly i had no delusions about the magic of barack obama's election. to me the fact that he got elected was evidence of racial progress in itself. once he got elected the next day it is a whole new ball game as we have seen. in any case, this letter said, mr. page, you have written an
2:12 pm
article which is misleading and inflammatory. this is my fan mail. exempt for a few die-hards from the 1960s who are still outraged they had to go to a colored wash room, things have gotten much better. for the overwhelming numbers of americans race plays no part in their lives or thoughts. it is not about race, but money, education, influence. get a good education, make money, a simulate and things move along. need to quit beating the old drum. nobody's listening. you think our hispanic and asian minorities care about this? best of luck, bh. it is a fan letter. best of luck. he wishes me well. and i honestly, sincerely believe that because i actually like letters from people that really show some thought. not just you know, a lot of invective. i understand where he is coming from. the only thing is, that you know, 20 years ago i did a book on race and i was calling for a new dialogue, a new national
2:13 pm
conversation on race. heard that before? president clinton called for one. president george w. bush called for one. recently, eric holder called for one and said, americans are cowards to not do it. we're cowards about race. and, when i say we, holder was talking about black folks too. he was not just talking about white people. everybody is cowards about race. he found out people are not cowards about writing e-mails to eric holder. in any case, i have given up on calling for a national conversation because i found that to hold a conversation the people who need to have the conversation the most don't show up because they already know everything. this is how this letter writer is. nice guy but he has his mind made up about black people apparently without talking to any actual black people. not a bad person i'm sure. a product of our age. daniel patrick moynihan a great man who i admire tremendously, i
2:14 pm
feel one of the great benefits of my profession i got a chance to chat with him a couple times. even took me on a tour of the reagan building over here on pennsylvania avenue, bragging with a smirk about how he always, vowed to the wilson foundation folks, wilson center, he would find them a home on pennsylvania avenue and when the time came that he really had things lined up for them, republicans newt gingrich congress, the republicans, newt gingrich congress took over and moynihan, how will i get a woodrow wilson center headquarters pat newt gingrich? i've got it. we'll name it after ronald reagan. so that is a little footnote for you in history. there are certain advantages to it and a lovely building it is. in any case i would appreciate daniel patrick moynihan's dictum, that you are you are entitled to your own opinion,
2:15 pm
not to your own facts. this is reversed largely today in the digital marketplace. you can find your own facts. you can shop around for what kind of facts you're looking for to particularly slant. at the same time i'm reminded about zora neal thurston, there is oversimplification of the negro. she declared that in 1945 in interview. he is pictured by conservatives happy picking his banjos or by so-called liberals, she was republican too, as low, miserable and crying. negro's life is neither of these. rather in between and above and below these pictures, unquote. i think thurston's stereotypes still appear in our news coverage today not just of african-americans. i think despite the decline in polls that show, the decline in race relations according to,
2:16 pm
i've got to phrase this right. there is a decline in the number of people who think that race relations have gotten better since obama became president. as few as 8% say it has gotten better. most say they have either stayed the same or gotten worse but i think despite that decline most whites, blacks and hispanics still think the races get along very well or about the same and also especially true in our personal lives. you talk to anybody about, you know, how do you get along with people in other races in your personal life? they can tell you heartwarming stories of neighbors, coworkers, et cetera. but often the world we present to you in the media which presents all these folks burning tires in the streets, et cetera. but this goes back to a bit of wisdom that a senior rewrite guy told me in that early years in journalism that news is what happens when things aren't going the way they're supposed to.
2:17 pm
when things are going the way they're supposed to, who cares about the thousands of planes that take off and land safely every day, right? or the thousands of kid who are not joining gangs or getting strung out on drugs. no, our story is the disasters. so one must keep this in mind, the world which we bring to you. and i think those of us who work in the media need to keep that in mind as well. which brings me to my surprising theme number three, business cosby's culture war. i met bill cosby as a student journalism student in 1969 and i interviewed a number of celebrities came to our campus. almost everybody had good sound bites to i have but about the war or about civil rights or about black power movement or what was going on in haight-ashbury, et cetera, et cetera. bill cosby, what a disappointment he was to me. all he wanted to talk about kids, stay in school. work hard. you have a great opportunity
2:18 pm
opening up for you here. don't blow it.e just really knuckle down and enjoy all the resources you've got. learn from them. and i thought, gee, he is no fun. he soundi just like my grandparents. but then flash forward 40 years later, when i am a, i'm a parent myself now and funny thing how much i was able to teach bill cosby in all those years. so i was not expecting this as a, you will constantly heara conservatives says black people reject bill cosby. no they don't. bill cosby express as voice that virtually all of us have heard in our families, very much a part of our communities but it's not news when you have african-americans who believe in strong families, working hard, staying in school, et cetera, et cetera. at the same time there is work to be done. i've i've followed cosby's progress and i have seen him do
2:19 pm
a lot of good work in spurring grassroots involvement around the w country but doesn't make news. who cares about kids that are succeeding. finally surprising them number four. dramatic cultural quakes i call it. the earth shakes and thingse change in ways you never expecte them to happen. legalize marijuana, all that's things will come some day. not in our lifetimes, children.o i know, that is science fiction stuff. boom, all of sudden last decade, all kind of stuff has been happening. maybe malcolm gladwell is rightn about the tipping point.t noth wonder my friend pat buchan and a lot of other people are so upset what a is going on with te
2:20 pm
culture. william f. buckley, definition of a conservative, one who stand progress relentlessly yelling halt. progress has a way of not listening to halt. to halt. so this is the origins of cultural diversity as i called, and numerous other changes have happened. but i love my book came about partly because of another daniel patrick moynihan quote in a memorandum back in 2003. he said, the central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics that determines the success of a society. let me read that again. the central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics that determines the success of a society. the central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself. i have seen that happen in terms of the civil rights movement
2:21 pm
when i was in high school, the debate was going on in washington and the conservatives were saying that you can change the law but you can't change peoples minds. dr. king said, in order to change people's minds you've got to lay the groundwork by changing the law. we saw what has happened. i don't know exactly how long but it didn't take very long before it was hard on anybody who supported the jim crow laws. i found this to be true socially when i was first hired by the "chicago tribune," and i was part of what i call the right generation. i came out of college in 1969, and it was a time in which we had something like 400 of civil disturbances, a.k.a. urban riots across the country, and almost all of the newspapers, radio, tv stations had little or no journalists of color.
2:22 pm
in fact, we were, in those days, we were not people of color. we were colored people, or negro as in 47 negroes were arrested trying to register to vote today. and then we became black. a great transformation. that was when, you've got to understand, the guy the ecb for you now, imagine you with a a lot more hair, chop sideburns, love beads around my neck. i the picture on my facebook page in fact for memories sake. there were bell bottom pants, et cetera, items back from the time. there was concern was given an offer by the tribune, the tribune by the way in 1969 and the tribune had hired their first black reporter in the
2:23 pm
newsroom in 1967. we were founded in 1847. in fact, the tribune's first major project in those days, we had a washington group from 1855, i hasten to tell everybody, and the chief sponsor, a big founding member of this new party called the republican, and he was a big promoter of abraham lincoln. after doing a favor for black folks that paper didn't hide the first black reporter for 120 years. after 122 years, clarence page shows up and, you know, and several editors said, you know, we would like to hire that page fellow but he might be a little militant for the tribune your some of you may rumor militant was a word that a black person
2:24 pm
spoke his mind, you know. but anyway, i heard this story later that one of the executives said, i've got an idea. let's ask joe, a wonderful journalist who was the first black journalist in the newsroom, a former chicago cop and that's another story, wonderful as i tell joe, he needs to write his own biography. a terrific story. they went over and said to joe, this page fellow, have you met him? yeah, i met him. well, we were wondering, we think about giving him an offer but we thought he might be a little militant. show with a sweeping gesture looked around the room and says, you know, maybe this newsroom could use of few militancy. i was hired the next day. so that active good faith i went to busch brothers and bought a
2:25 pm
suit. i know of a culture. i know about assimilation. i know about individuality. i know about political correctness. i learned these many things firsthand from my time here in the news business and independent business, and over the last -- pundit business. over the last few years i've seen our society more and more in need of folks who can help us all to make sense of what's going on. because it's one thing to be supplies of information. it's another thing to give an interpretation to it and help think about something they may have not thought about before. up for a little reading? all right. okay. this isad very quickly, i was thinking about you know, when one goes out to a book reading one is supposed to read something and i was thinking
2:26 pm
about what i would really, what really grabbed me right now. i was going back to june of 1991. i just moved to washington and i got the news one day that thurgooda marshall was about to give his last news conference and, well, it wasn't billed that way but we all knew it was going to be his last one because he was about to retire because of ill health. and at the same time we knew waiting in the wings was a young african-american judge named clarence thomas. that was the big story at the time. and inc had just gotten into ton to say, thurgood marshall news conference. one thing about a reporter is, if you've got some latitude, especially columnist, make your own assignments you get to meet people you always admired from afar. i always admired thurgood marshall on number of levels and this man is walking history. anyway i jumped in a cab and
2:27 pm
went over there. i'm youngest journalist in thete room. this i.s the city of bright youh things in journalism.j young folks that come out of j schools and various internships and all up, what my buddy henry allen, retired "washington post" reporter, described years ago as the young fogies of washington. they are so serious and eager to get the big story and all theirt assignment deskses had told them, find out what he thinks about clarence thomas. i'm there in the crowd and reporters are finding a zillion different ways to ask the same question. the best answer came from thurgood marshall the very first time, what he asked of the thought of possibility of clarence thomas being appointed to the supreme court andou marshall would come in the room, moving very slowly, short of breath and sat there wheezing as he listened to the questions,
2:28 pm
when he was asked about clarence thomas, like a oracle, old man told me, that it makes no difference whether you got a white snake or a black snake, they both bite. that was his answer. thank you. oh, great swami, for, and that was terrific. that was the way he was answering questions all the way around. finally this kind of a lull and i said, mr. justice, how do you want to bet remembered? he looked up at me across the crowd there and squinted and, well, let me read this to you, because that was my lead. how do you want to be remembered i asked retiring supreme court justice thurgood marshall, calling my question over the heads of reporters at his farewell press conference. squinting in my direction the old curmudgeon appeared to be at once amused or irritated and reflected in a microsecond and muttered f in his graphly voice,
2:29 pm
that he did what he could with what he had. that would make an appropriate ephithet. whether you loved what he did or hated it. marshall, excuse me, marshall gave it all he had and dared you to feel neutral bit.me those who argue that marshall should be replaced by another african-american miss the more important point. justice marshall's value was not to his color, it was to his conscience. if the web justice is a great national safety net, marshall was its last remaining anchor at the end of that sympathized most with people too powerless and causes too unpopular for politicians to touch. he embodied what oliver wendell holmes was talking about, he said the life of thehe law has not been logic, it has been experience, unquote. he understood the hard-luck cases because he had been one of them and often had defended them. marshall brought to the court his experience as one who suffered the indignities of
2:30 pm
second-class citizenship at at time when his skin color kept him out of most restaurants, hotels and a maryland law school he wanted to attend. he later graduated at top of his class at washington's mostly black howard university. he argued more cases before the supreme court than his fellow justices had, 32, of which of ht won 29. he was only sitting just is toas defend ad convict who had been sentenced to death. he knew the meaning of rough justice. named only justice to have found as a defense lawyer, one of his clients had been lynn of before marshall's train arrived in then texas town where the suspect was to be tried. . . liberal activism. if so, he leaves behind a cork guilty of conservative activism, reversing for important earlier court decisions the same week marshall announced his departure. the new court seemed discontent to le let the day pass without stripping away another right. this was a court that allowed coerced confessions, warrantless
2:31 pm
searches of bus passengers, censorship of adult only nude dancers, victim impact statements to part the motions of juries of defending the death penalty. the danger in these decisions is in the line of thinking may represent a couple ronald reagan promised to get government off people's back, the court is something state powers expand at the expense of individual rights. showed little appreciation for why we have warrants in the first place. the court that justifies or allows victim impact statements in the commendable regard for the rights of victims or their survivors were willing to testify to the callous regard of victims who for whatever reason did not testify. and the court could use some coerced confession of some harmless error apparently sees little harm and its encouragement of sloppy police work like asked of the dropping
2:32 pm
i suspect down a staircase, accidentally. marshall most powerful parting shot came in the dissent he lobbed into the court victim impact decision on the date of his retirement announcement. quote power and that reason is the new currency of this court's decision-making. unquote. today the decision charts and unmistakable course, cast aside today are those condemned today's society's ultimate building, tomorrow's victims may be minority, women or the indigent. inevitably, this campaign to resurrect yesterdays spirited dissent will squander the authority and legitimacy of this court as the protector of the powerless. i dissent. the rank of marshall's decision will go through the halls of justice long after the man has less. a lonely voice, a tempered sound legal logic with the warm flesh and blood of human experience.
2:33 pm
it doesn't matter whether you're right or left when your abundant. leaders want to know where you stand. this is what i found -- when you're a pundit. the worst think it is wishy-washy. i've had to sometimes sit down and think a word i really stand on this? then be as close possible. i'm a wishy-washy kind of guy. on the other hand, but it's hard for people to bounce off of their opinion if they ask what your opinion is. what i like most is when i get a note from somebody who says i almost never agree with what you got to say. at least i know i appreciate wasting. and also, i also learned early on when you're with somebody who sent you a piece of hate mail one week, writes something they agree with you the next day, and it's a love letter. so i don't take it personal. i think that's important. i think we are public figures
2:34 pm
dealing with public issues, got reflect with responsibility. with that in mind i think all of you from the public for coming in tonight, and i welcome your questions and comments. thank you very much. [applause] >> right over here. thank you. no, which the mic. or i can bring the mic to him. thank you. >> my question is just apropos where you ended, that how do colonists get picked though to write? i mean, the showbiz side of it. so, for example, my favorite columnist i loved weight is charles krauthammer, because if i'm crossing through the word communist, who's right and who's wrong and all that, there's not very much substance but he's very popular.
2:35 pm
spink i probably like him more than you do. i admire him so much. i actually admire his ability to make an argument. it will i admire george will. because the argument is something i don't agree, i can argue so i don't agree with the like to see how he makes his argument because i learned from the. i know who i am competing with so speak what i present my opinion. like i said, 30 years of columns, i've got to find some columns here on the other side. >> how does an editor judge economy, i'm looking i say the showbiz side of his in and out. that's just precious inches right there. spent very good question. in fact, i was 60 what do i want to be a columnist. as i say, it took me 20 years to
2:36 pm
be an overnight success. i attended to the late great jean fiscal said. i was with him and roger ebert went on to some high school kids and the first question was i didn't get to be a movie critic. and jean said the best answer is find another willing to give you a column. willing to make you a critic. that's the way columnist get picked, so to speak. you may want to be a columnist and it's a matter of what's happened repeatedly, something want to be a columnist. to write an op-ed piece, or two or three come and present that to an editor and said i want to do this all the time it. erma bombeck was an ohio housewife. this is her title and building so speak when she came to a newspaper i interned at the late great dayton herald. with some humorous i think
2:37 pm
editors -- letter to the editor. the editor just loved her comments come just to let us go and esther to do some essays for the paper that became a column and she became one of the most successful colonists in america. i used to read erma bombeck and say, boy, i would love to do the kind of column. where does she find all that the letters material? years later i became a parent and i found out. by ben, as my wife knows, the singer got the pulitzer, but we were like what, about six, seven months of expectation. when i won the pulitzer and i said to him, i never thought the pulitzer could be anti-climatic. but as i became a parent i became such a i found a wealth of nature and also found, my kid came in and said, you get the mail bag's the.
2:38 pm
it's important for the call is to know because you can be the smartest guy or gal in or but if you don't touch the readers come if you don't connect with them, or get about it. so that shows you how she got started. other people, i've had a friend of mine, make a long story short, a friend of mine got promoted and became head of the editorial board and took the the linc an instead, how about you write a column of? funny you should mention that, jack. so anyway, we all get stored one way or the other. after got the pulitzer i thought i was justified because he was an interest in me having a column that i said let me have a column and you got a deal. so it worked out, and i did both. now i just do the column mostly, and also voice to show what do they call them? video blogging. this is the here and now. you don't just write a column.
2:39 pm
you've got to tweak it, facebook could, then do a video blog. but all these things roll up together. anyway, go right ahead. >> i really enjoyed your talk tonight, and i really enjoy when you're o on the sunday morning talk shows. >> thank you. >> especially because you're calm and collected and articulate speech usually just before breakfast. but seriously, thank you. >> i wanted to know when you started appearing on these shows, and about what you're experiences are like? >> well, thank you. i always wait to hear the inevitable question, much john maclachlan really like? i will say as i've said to john, and he appreciated this, inside
2:40 pm
that grumpy extra, there's a grumpy interior. but once you crack through that, there's a heart of gold. i owe the guy so much for the opportunities that he brought to me, exposed me to not only a large national audience but also at the time when my kid was in fifth grade i got lampooned in mad magazine with the rest of the mclaughlin group. that gives you bragging rights in the fifth grade. when i first started doing tv, actually i was an essayist for the "newshour." menus our with everybody, judy woodruff, et cetera. the essays were great, wonderful show. talk about calm. let us reason together. this is intellectual television.
2:41 pm
marvelous and respected writers. of course, that had to go away. tv respecting virus that never happened up in case at the same time i begin the maclachlan group which i always set to political this court what mud wresting us to the elliptic spirit that was great about it was it opened up what our exposure to a much broader audience but people say how do you keep your temper and demeanor et cetera in the middle with all the cacophony? eyesight that i used to work in television. one thing i know about broadcast is he a bunch of people talking at once. there's only one microphone. so everybody's voice hits the mark the same time, people can hear anybody. you've got to learn to work quiet moments. i learned that during the video
2:42 pm
essays. who here enjoys cbs's sunday mornings, little nature met at the end of? isn't a wonderful? one of my favorite moments on television. you don't hear anybody talking. it's just a camera looking at the birds and the fish angier nature's sounds. some people in television really appreciate sound, and that's -- but anyway, i'm sounding much too high and mighty about this. like woody allen said, timing is everything, or something like this. >> thanthank you very much. it was an interesting. i'm a numbers guy, and -- >> oh, you're the mathematician, all right spent my question is
2:43 pm
headed, when you look at journalism and to talk a lot about perception and culture and the way people think and feel, often times it doesn't necessarily sit with how things are in terms of economic indicators or poles or things like that. for example, violent crime has been dropping tremendous over the last 20 or 30 years, but people are scared to let the kids play in the front yards. >> that's right. >> i'm curious about your view on journalism and the responsibility to report things as they are as reality on numbers and fax tend to be versus what tends to happen with a lot of opinions and fear stoking and things like that. >> that's right. you brought up something that's what my great pet peeves and challenges in life because as i've said, pages law of politics is that politics is 90% perception.
2:44 pm
have to come up with the 90% i don't know. it's the feeling you get after a while, that as you say, crime rates can be plummeting. if people don't feel safe it doesn't matter. on the other hand, if they do feel safe, it doesn't matter what the crime rate is. i basically did a couple of columns about moms, and one dad come in the cincinnati area who have been prosecuted for linda kids play on the outside. do you know those stories? there was one woman died in florida, another woman also down south. something that you can tell a lot about people when you tell them that you let your kid go ride the metro by themselves, nine or 10 years old, and do they get sadly action in shock, or do they not? that's the to kind of people we have in this society. there is a woman who let her son
2:45 pm
write the new york subway by himself at age nine and got so tired of the shocked looks and all the stuff that she started amortization, free range children, is what she calls it. that's what she calls a, free range kids. those kids were allowed to play like those of us who remember the '50s used to, i'd never. as long as you home before sundown, that's all that mattered. if you weren't home before sundown, my mother and dad with panic but i was the only child. but it was idea of just roaming around the neighborhood or going off and catching the bus ride downtown by yourself. this is all perceptions because we have the crime rate, as i say, has been dropping overall nationally since the mid '90s, and i do have a column in my book about the superpredator. remember the superpredator?
2:46 pm
go back to the early '90s, lots of stories in the media about this new breed of juvenile delinquent that was more violent than ever and those testimony on capitol hill over this, came up with the term. he came up with the term and legislation was passed as part of a swapping of his incarceration explosion still today, and it was a column i wrote was how he regretted coming up with that term. because it stuck and contribute to a congressional panic and all these new laws were passed, but to travel to nail the super predators, and it turned out about the same time he was testifying the crime rate will start to go down, including among the juveniles, et cetera. but this could give people enough of an impression that it
2:47 pm
means more than all these numbers do. it means something now because there is a new conservative liberal coalition which have also written about to reduce the incarceration explosion, that we've got all these nonviolent offenders that are jamming up our prisons and running a state budgets so much so that even texas now has taken the lead on finding alternative sentencing and releasing nonviolent offenders. rick perry looks the other way. you have to know texas politics to know how this works. a texas democrat is more conservative than an illinois republican. this is true, ladies and gentlemen. another thing about the great diversity of our country. in texas, the legislature has taken the lead on reducing the prison population, and it's happening in georgia and florida, places where, not soft
2:48 pm
on crime states but the numbers are finally catching up to the reality. are should say reality is catching up to the numbers. how many years has that taken? ever since the crack wars of the 1980s we've had this push to lock them up and throw away the key. so this is still something that really determines politics even now. we look at, i was reading a fascinating essay last night, it showed how the wire, the great hbo series predicted isis. a remarkable parallel when you look at the wire is all about the drug wars in baltimore and how at one point they were called the powers, the public housing towers were torn down and this good, social good resulted in the drug traffickers turf being scattered and whole new round of wars as they begin
2:49 pm
to carve out their turf. that's exactly what happened in chicago because the homicide explosion we have now. we have the world's biggest public housing development, and that has led to this terrible problem of the homicides now. in baltimore they have had something like, well, it parallels to help isis informed out of dispersal of the various tribal and political groups before. the way drug wars have broken out here, and these have come about unusual of a certain reality of shifting the people who are, well, the statistics. in iraq they reduce the violence and thought we've got good governance and i'll lick, this problem is going to go away.
2:50 pm
it turned out that the perceptions of those iraqis who happened to be sunni was they were being frozen out by the maliki government which was dominated by shia and we have this tribal war going on which has now erupted in isis among other things. ices is partly displaced sunnis as well as other people. so this i has happened all over the planet partly because a lot of us felt asleep in math class. so again i appreciate your keeping what we call precision journalism, which means actually finding a miracle data that backs up the assumptions that one as and not just going with the impressions people have. at the same time though, elections tend to swing on impressions. if people don't feel safe, and they will vote for those policies that make them feel safe and vice versa. thank you very much for your question.
2:51 pm
sort about my long-winded oration. about halfway to the answer i think, there's a column in debt. i keep talking and imposing a column in my head. but thank you. >> i have a quick one. after the in migration, actually i think it was the second inauguration i was down with a tour group and taking through a home at the metro card was filled up at that point and i was sitting next to a large african-american family went in and kids and we got chatting and the question that came up was, do we think that this is, that this participation that people of color had in the election and the effect, the way it took that election, do we think that this is kind of, centered around obama?
2:52 pm
is it centric obama or have we seen the awakening of a sleeping giant? >> that's a very good question. that's a very good question, raise the other day by gary young, a columnist for the british guardian. he's an american but he lives a lot. is talking about obama's current troubles with his approval ratings and the democrats, democrats plural, problem going into the midterm election, but once again republicans are fired up and democrats are kind of disarray is the word but less than enthusiastic we say. instead of maybe in ferguson, missouri. they don't have there local elections until springtime which is another story. gary young was talking to me about, people talk about is barack obama interested in the
2:53 pm
job? is he too detached and office? young was saying it's not so much he's detached as the impression he gives of being detached, that folks question his own enthusiasm about the job and the task at hand. that's the way he does. you don't call him the professor for nothing. he's always been rather, well, cool and aloof, and that was a virtue during his first election campaign. no drama obama. now people on the left are saying give us some drama. they won't let him alone. the more important point that young was making was obama does not have a movement behind him. i council to agree. i was saying this back in 2008. remember how rudy giuliani watauga obama the committee
2:54 pm
organizer. yeah, committee organizer. come to chicago. community organizers are what make politics move. getting people out and organize around a certain cause. of course, we know in 2009 you have the tea party movement which was a tremendous example of community organizing, grassroots organizing efforts. helped along by some tasty to lobbyists. regardless, there were lots of liberals out there -- some case treat lobbyists. the question of why, to go back to will rogers. i belong to no organized party. i'm a democrat, right? was satisfied with it's basically true. there's something marvelous about liberals, they love to debate and discuss, and conservatives love doctrine. here it is. you waiver and you are a rhino. colin powell, you're a rhino.
2:55 pm
how dare you have moderate views. sometimes these are the folks who brag about the party of lincoln. read some stuff about lincoln. this guy today would be a radical. he was a radical republican back then, or actually not as radical as frederick douglass. lincoln wanted to do anything to save the union. if that meant shipping blacks to library, fine. frederick douglass was the radical. he wanted in slate, big black folks the right to vote, blah, blah, blah. medical id. that's why allow the excitement of politics in political history. but today i think, i was saying when obama got elected that this is a combination of the wheel and energies of many people who pulled together into a strong movement, and the genius of a young man named david axelrod who just happens to have been an
2:56 pm
intern of -- thank you. i just have to drop it into every conversation in washington, and still proud of him. and quite often here since he went back to the hallowed halls of the university of chicago, i've often said, why aren't you at the white house when obama need you? but as gary young was saying there was not that progressive movement behind obama that, say -- i'm thinking of ted cruz or -- i want is a rand paul but it's never clear day today whether he's with the movement or not or which movement he is with, but you get the idea though. i've been quite impressed with paul ryan. i've talked to him several times as he met with black and
2:57 pm
hispanic grassroots organizations. he's the closest to jack kemp these days. jack kemp is my kind of republican. he was a guy who believed in working with grassroots people and getting out, and before you start talking, listen, listen to people, find out what they want and how can the party responded to that with an alternate idea what the other party. i would love to see a return of healthy debate, we are always from that yet. but in the meantime we've got the upcoming midterms. i don't see democrats pulling together. this goes back to the fragmentation of our society. i used to hate machine politics. i we were the first mayor daley, richard the first as we called it in chicago. he used to say it's not a machine, it's an organization, right? but i see what is organized politics did. today -- welcome back in those days television replaced the mission. somebody said tv is mayor
2:58 pm
daley's favorite precinct captain. today, the internet has replaced the mission. a special on the republican side. it also happens on the democratic side to if you're a member of the house, you don't have to go to the party lives anymore. if you have any charisma to face the president and good political advisers you can go on the web and do your own ads, et cetera come and raise money. barack obama single-handedly undid this post-watergate reforms because he could raise more money on the web and the matching funds could provide from the federal government. and so this has been a state of our politics but what did that lead to? party organization breaks down, no more hierarchy, this faction and that faction running around doing their own thing. it can lead to gridlock on capitol hill. it can lead to chaos at election time. i think things will settle down. i'm optimistic by looking back through history, the tea party
2:59 pm
for example, i see as today's version of third parties we seen on the right and left in the past, and hl mencken famously said third parties are like honey bees, they staying and then they die. a user takes one or two election cycles. the second election cycle for the tea party. i will be anxious to see how well they did after 2016 but for certificate through 2014. i hope somewhere knowable but i answered your question. that was an interesting journey, wasn't it? i go from one point to another but it all comes together in the end. how are we doing on time? [inaudible] >> okay. thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen thank you very much once again, the likes to meet you all. [applause]
3:00 pm
>> is there a nonfiction author a book you would like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail to booktv at c-span.org, tweet us at booktv can you tell us what this is? >> it was completely renovated in the last bush administration. in fact, this book is an update to include george w. bush and the obama changes in the white house is the first edition was printed. the experiment was th l

7 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on